I haven’t done a very good job in this blog keeping politics out of education, but neither have we as a country. The ether is all abuzz about the President’s address to kids in school tomorrow. Politicians, media reporters and commentators, bloggers, and educators from all sides continue to weigh in. Depending on what you hear or read, this is the most crucial and defining moment in American educational history (positively or negatively) or the beginning of the end of American society or step one of political indoctrination or a colossal waste of time or, or, or. ..
Impassioned (rightly or wrongly, is not mine to judge) people have provoked responses from educational systems from all over America. Many have chosen to post announcements about whether the speech will or will not be available synchronously or asynchronously. Here’s my response –lingua en buccae. This was originally emailed to a colleague to lighten his day after histrionics from multiple sides…
I must protest. Through the media frenzy caused by this, I guess I’m supposed to understand that I apparently don’t have the intelligence to parent or communicate with my son properly. I assume, from the implicit messages on both sides, that I should be afraid to discuss any ideas with him. It appears that simple exposure to this speech is too dangerous and the potential for sudden, irrevocable change is too risky. And if he doesn’t have access to this speech, he will be at a significant educational disadvantage because I obviously don’t know how to challenge him to set educational goals or expect, with my assistance, that he will take responsibility for his education.
It’s obvious to me now that the media commentators do not expect me to communicate with my kid on any level about any new learning or risk exposing him to the President of the United States. Politicians on both sides have helped me see my total incompetence as a parent to either motivate my kid in school or discuss with him the ideas he may learn there. I’m just so glad my son was not yet born in 1991 when another president did the same thing and the opposition side was all indignant then and the proponent side resented their criticism.
So I end where I began. I must protest…the ridiculous behavior of the politicians who demand respect for the office of the Presidency, except when the other party is in power. I must protest…the idiocy of media commentators who create controversy because it’s good for ratings. I must protest…the polarized lunatics on both sides whose hypocrisy forces schools and districts to waste their time and resources on this sort of foolishness.
In case you want to make up your mind for yourself and possibly engage in a thoughtful dialog with your own kids, here’s the Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama Back to School Event.